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Tribal fire department to teach courses

HIGHLAND – The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Fire Department will be one of 50 in California to conduct and host courses in confined space and rescue techniques, the tribe said Feb. 11.

The six-year-old fire department on the San Manuel Reservation was selected for its facilities and expertise in urban search and rescue situations such as structural collapse resulting from an earthquake. San Manuel Fire serves a reservation surrounded by densely populated cities, but also abuts the mountain range of the Angeles National Forest.

“Making sure that fire fighters are well trained and equipped is a priority that San Manuel shares with all of California’s cities and counties,” said San Manuel Fire Chief Michael Smith.

The selection follows several years of automatic aid relationships with other fire departments such as the San Bernardino, Highland and U.S. Forest fire departments.

“Our responsibility is first and foremost to protect the health and safety of the people who live, work and visit our reservation,” said Chairman James Ramos. “However, we are painfully aware that fire and natural disasters know no borders; therefore, it is of the greatest mutual interest that we make this training available to fire departments in other jurisdictions.”